Two braces, two Adelaide comebacks and a red card as United and Wellington share the spoils in a Thursday night belter


Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix have shared the points after a thrilling 2-2 A-League Men draw at Coopers Stadium on Thursday night.

Hiroshi Ibusuki and Kosta Barbarouses starred for United and Wellington respectively, with both players bagging doubles, scoring in each half.

Reds coach Carl Veart praised his troops’ efforts after twice falling behind.

“The performance tonight was good, I think the endeavour from the players was excellent as well,” he said.

“They did everything that we wanted in the second half tonight but get those extra couple of goals to get us the win.”

Make that ???????????? goals in four games for Kosta Barbarouses! ????????

The red-hot Phoenix star fires his side back in front just ONE minute into the second-half! ????????


Catch the action live on Paramount+#ALM #ADLvWEL

— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) January 4, 2024

Wellington thought they had opened the scoring on 11 minutes when Bozhidar Kraev found the back of the net.

Barbarouses had waltzed through Adelaide’s midfield before slipping in Tim Paine, who cut the ball back for Kraev to turn in from close range.

However, the goal was ruled out by VAR, with Kraev having strayed offside.

The Phoenix didn’t have long to wait to break the deadlock, going ahead on 15 minutes.

Alex Rufer crossed to the far post, and found Lukas Kelly-Heald, who headed back across goal. 

United keeper James Delianov dived but couldn’t reach it, and Barbarouses ghosted in behind Nick Ansell to head into an empty net.

United equalised in the 26th minute thanks to a header from Ibusuki.

Zach Clough whipped in a corner to the near post and the Reds’ towering Japanese striker outmuscled his opponent to head past Wellington shot-stopper Alex Paulsen.

The visitors regained the lead almost immediately after the restart following a mistake in the Reds’ defence.

Paine crossed in from the right and Giuseppe Bovalina opted to chest the ball down instead of clearing. The loose clearance rolled perfectly into the path of Barbarouses, who drilled his shot low and hard past Delianov from 12 metres.

The set-up from Irankunda ????‍???? Another clinical finish from Ibusuki ????

17-year-old Nestory Irankunda causes havoc on the right flank to find Hiroshi Ibusuki who completes his brace! ????

Catch the action live on Paramount+ ????

????: #ADLvWEL

— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) January 4, 2024

For the second time in the contest Adelaide equalised within 10 minutes, and it was Ibusuki who scored again, thanks to the blistering run of Nestory Irankunda.

The Bayern Munich-bound teenager took possession just forward of the halfway line and burst past Nick Pennington and then Kelly-Heald before supplying the perfect cutback for Ibusuki, who tucked the ball home in the 55th minute.

Irankunda was involved again just moments later, teeing up substitute Ben Halloran, who rattled the crossbar from the edge of the area.

The Reds continued to pile on the pressure in the closing stages, with Ibusuki slamming a shot against the upright from close range.

Isaias brought out the best from Paulsen, forcing a stunning save following a brilliant long-range effort.

While the home side did all the attacking, the Phoenix sat patiently and on 83 minutes countered after an Adelaide corner.

Ben Old released substitute Oskar van Hattum with a long ball over the Reds’ defence, and with the attacker almost clear, he was clattered into by Ben Warland, who was subsequently given his marching orders.

Pennington almost nabbed a winner for Wellington in the final minute, but his looping header bounced out off the upright.

Phoenix coach Giancarlo Italiano felt Wellington could have done more to secure victory, particularly in the final stage when United were reduced to 10 men.

“The intent to win the game was there, but we were a little bit naive in executing and maybe putting them to the sword,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.